Friday, July 6, 2007

Bloggolalia: Should Increasing Traffic be Our #1 Goal?

Recently, the fine writers at You Been Blinded and Five Tool Tool have posted about how to increase traffic to your blog. I think that their ideas are very useful for bloggers, and I thank them for sharing. I wanted to push the topic a little further. For me, getting a lot of traffic for your blog is similar to wanting to have a lot of people visit your store if you're a small business owner. It's a worthy goal, especially when you're starting out your blog. But after you've been around for a little while, hits by themselves can be less rewarding. If your customers at, say, a bookstore are just sitting there reading books and not buying anything, who cares if you have 100 or 500 customers a day? Here's some other things to consider in your blogging. (Of course, if you just blog to have fun, ignore uptight, stuffy folk like myself and stop reading pronto).

* Goal of increasing comments. Without funny or insightful comments, my posts are not the same. I don't want one-time visitors; I want traffic that returns again and again. This is why Deadspin links may not actually be that great; Deadspin links to some 20? blogs a day, and if people are coming to you from deadspin, chances are they already are reading a ton of sports blogs. How are they going to fit you into that schedule? ├Źnstead, find people who will be loyal to your blog and comment again and again. Talk to your commenters, reward them (Best comment of the week contests, ala WL?), etc. I also wonder, on the really odd side of things; what if, once you write about Kobe, you go drop a post into the lakers forums and let fans know you're talking about their guy? Yes, it's playing with fire, but hey, if you want comments, you have to get a reaction out of people.

* Goal of increasing revenue. Many bloggers have some kind of "If you want to advertise, send me an e-mail" section. But I wonder; what if you would actually go after advertisers yourself? For example, if you post on geographic topics (i.e. Chicago sports), why not give a local sports bar or two a call? They might give you a try, if it costs 1/10th or 1/100th the price it would for a local paper. And what about other forms of revenue? If you take an interesting video of a sporting event and post it on revver.com, you get paid through revenue sharing. That's what the guys who did the Kobe video are doing (once they realized people wouldn't cough up $1.99), and they have 100,000 views.

* Goal of better blog content. There are people out there who are too busy to write their own blog. But they have interesting news facts and tidbits, or they are good at writing themselves and know how to improve your blog. If you can find some way to reward those people or let it be known that you want content from readers, you can tap into their skills. Also, a lot of times us writers are so busy trying to get EVERY LAST DETAIL AND JOKE out of a story because I MUST PROVE THAT I AM SO FUNNY OR SMART, that we don't give the reader anything to do. Like what I'm doing on this post, for example (hypocrite alert!). Leave some questions open on your blog for people to answer, don't tell all the jokes yourself, or just take the "Yes" side of an issue and invite commenters to write the "No" side for you. Deadspin does this nicely, and that's part of why it's so popular, in my opinion.

Do you think I'm right in saying we overemphasize traffic; or does traffic lead to these goals anyway? Note: see original post and comments at BallHype.

Oh, and Fan Friday brought to you by Dan; this may be the silliest Red Sox fan video yet.

6 comments:

  1. Sweet tips, McB.

    However, after checking out the sitemeter, it seems people stumble upon BLB with one hand under their desk and 12 google search tabs open with terms like "Hot Babes" "Nude Babes" and "Babes at Fenway" ...

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  2. nice work. thanks for the link. i have a similar take about leaving some meat on the joke bones. i feel it helps comments and links to your story.

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  3. Great minds think alike....Or so they say. Now that I have my own site and have people writing on it that I like the only thing that matters is that we are having fun. I don't even know if my blog is good or not, but we have a little group of commenters who come back 4-5 times a week and get into little discussions. I find that is more fun than anything. It's gotten to the point where most times I'm so excited to see what my commenters will think about my post...that I forget to send it in to Deadspin, The Big Lead, etc.

    I really like your idea about local advertising revenue. Not that we are trying to get any revenue out of this at all, but we frequent a lot of 'local watering holes' and we may begin chatting them up about that. Especially since our t-shirt designs are mediocre, at best, and we are ashamed to post them...

    Great job, as always.

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  4. Good stuff, McB. Although, judging by what Sooze is saying, maybe I should re-name Red Sox Monster something like Double D Monster. No? OK.

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  5. Let's just say that the most popular search item for my blog is probably Erin Andrews...and I think I mentioned her twice, at most. And what? No google searches for Sooze + Lizzy + babes?! People these days have no taste.

    Smart, youbeen, I am trying to do better at this myself on here.

    Jack Cobra, you deserve a lot of the credit for starting the "increase traffic" posts due to your short comment on the SML post that people rely too much on Deadspin for traffic. I can't speak for you been and five tool, but that certainly started me thinking. Sadly, the history books will not mention your work, ha, but I wanted to toss that out there. And yes, I was thinking of your site when I talked about the local revenue.

    Dan, it is irritatingly true that some edginess and inneundo (sp?) seems to help the hit count. But again, per this post--do you really want such lowlifes as part of your site traffic? I prefer visitors who can put together coherent, two-hand-typed sentences in the comment sections.

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  6. I forget what inspired the original traffic post at FTT. I think it was just trying to be too clever to get a Deadspin link, which we haven't had in a while. Plus, I'm way too obsessed with looking at Sitemeter, so truth said in jest, yada yada yada.

    I like to give FTT a Colbert-esque delusions of grandeur feel whenever possible, just to, well, amuse myself. If you're not amusing yourself, this becomes work far too quickly.

    In re monetization -- I think we're way too early in the game for that. Give me consistent traffic in the thousands and/or tens of thousands, a crapload of writers so that I'm not carrying the full weight, maybe even some international flavors. Way too soon to punish people with ads no one will click on.

    Oh, and definitely loiter around and do Google searches on your blog name. Never know what you'll find.

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